As per John Abraham, "Madras Cafe brings us closer to what changed the political history of India."The film, set in India and Sri Lanka, is a political spy thriller with the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war.Major Vikram Singh (John Abraham) is an Indian Army special officer who is appointed by the intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing to head covert operations in Jaffna shortly after Indian peace-keeping force was forced to withdraw. As he journeys to Sri Lanka, with the intention of disrupting the LTF rebels, he becomes entangled in rebel and military politics. There he meets a British journalist (Jaya Sahni) who wants to reveal the truth about the civil war, and in the process he uncovers a conspiracy to assassinate "a former Indian prime minister".
"The film is a work of fiction, but it is based on research into real events, it has a resemblance to actual political events, dealing with civil war and the ideology of a rebel group.", said director Sirkar.